Because I want you all to be able to relate to me, I need to be authentic, vulnerable and completely transparent, so I am going to share where my heart is currently residing….grief. Now, you all might think that it is all centered around the transition of Bryce to college, and that is definitely part of it. The other side revolves around parenting an adult with Down syndrome. Now, before I begin, this is not a plea for pity. Nope, this is the landscape that I knew would appear one day. The moment where my focus would be solely on Bailey. Only he isn’t an adorable young child. He is now an argumentative adult with the mindset of a twelve year old. I am frustrated that he can’t understand how important a bedtime is especially since work begins on Friday. I am annoyed that he is constantly disrespectful and rude when boundaries are put in place. I am tired of searching for creative ways to steer him into the right direction. With Bryce gone, I am no longer being diverted with another child’s issues/activities/and whatever else was on the agenda. This is my new reality and frankly, just for today, I am feeling sad.
Last night, on the way to his Special Olympics softball game, I felt a pang of anger sprinkled with envy of those who are beginning their life as empty nesters while I am being held hostage by a genetic diagnosis. Remember, these are my perceptions, folks. They change on a dime. While I wouldn’t trade being Bailey’s mother for the world, I still grieve. Ask any parent of a special needs child and they will tell you the exact same thing I am sharing. Grief is my constant companion. Oh sure, it lies dormant, but when it emerges, it disguises itself in the form of anger, irritation, and pure bitchiness. I am in the thick of trying to figure out where I fit…..career wise, as a parent, as a spouse, and as a middle-age woman who apparently thought she could sail through this without feeling just a little bit broken.
Now, I know this too shall pass. I am not blind to the fact that my life is pretty exceptional. With that being said, I need to feel this, embrace it (even though it sucks), and move forward. I haven’t been doing the best job of that as pointed out by my spouse this morning when I was overreacting about nothing. I hate it when he can see it and I can’t. When he asks, “What is really going on with you?”, it kind of pisses me off and today, well, let’s just say it took meditation to provide an emotional awakening.
I am grateful that God chose me to parent two awesome humans. I am blessed to be supported by a tribe of people who accept me flaws and all. And since I am getting on my own nerves, I will be gentle with myself today. I am an ongoing project that continues to expand. By truly acknowledging my place of emotional residence, I create the best version of me.